....was due Tuesday 9/11.
- 3 negative examples & a model
- Class favorite
Concentrate on section one of "The Loss of the Creature."
There are many specific portraits of travelers in this section (the explorer
Cardenas, a sightseer with a camera, a family marooned during an outbreak
of typhus, an American couple in Mexico, a young man in France, etc.).
All of these portraits are biased to some extent; which one of them seems
to you the most questionable? Use details involved in the portrait you
pick to expose Percy's assumptions.
What lesson do we as readers learn from Percys presentation of this
paragraphs: 3 false starts & a model
start 1. In "The Loss of the Creature", by Walker Percy,
he talks about experiencing things. You have to get off the beaten path.
Society stops people from seeing things for themselves. I think this is
really true. I liked the part about Garcia Lopez de Cardenas. "One
crosses miles of desert, breaks through the mesquite, and there it is
at ones feet."
False start 2. At the beginning of "The Loss of the Creature,"
Walker Percy starts by describing Garcia Lopez de Cardenas. He discovered
the Grand Canyon after crossing miles of desert. It was beautiful to him
because he was the first to see it. But now that the government has made
it a national park, we cant see it like this. Percy says that if
seeing the Canyon had a value of "P" for Cardenas, then now
we only get a millionth part of "P" today.
False start 3. Walker Percy is a racist. I couldnt believe
how he says that Indians dont count as people, and how he just assumes
that the Spanish guy had all these emotions. How does he know? He wasnt
Model. Percy credits Garcia Lopez de Cardenas with "discover[ing]"
(511) the Grand Canyon, laying eyes on it before anyone else. Percy assumes
that only Cardenas is able to see the Grand Canyon "for what it is"
(512); sightseers coming after him can never have this experience. But
this assumption is shaky.
The picture of Cardenas at the Grand Canyon is sheer conjecture: no actual
documents back up Percys claims. In fact, the sing-song description
of Cardenass discovery ("
breaks through the mesquite,
and there it is at ones feet"(511)) highlights the artificiality
of this fantasy. Percys pseudo-analytic labeling of Cardenass
discovery as "a certain value P" (511) continues the charade.
Its curious that Percy uses "P" rather than a more mathematical
"X" in this phraseis it a coincidence that our author
is stamping this description with his own initial?
These opening tricks should put Percys reader on guard. Percy is
doing two things at once: hes railing against "formulated"
(512) experience, and also giving us a demonstration of how easy it is
to fall into blindness thanks to preformulation. By coating Cardenas with
fantasy, Percy loses sight of the actual explorer, ironically demonstrating
the same failure to perceive that he denounces.
Actual response: class favorite
In the essay
The Loss of the Creature, Walker Percy made a few points about feelings
that I too have had. Percys statement about the sightseers
satisfaction being based on "the degree to which [it] conforms to
the preformed complex" (566) is too true for todays tourists.
All that seems to matter is whether "it" lives up to its expectations.
I can relate to Percys dilemma about loss of sovereignty because
when I visited Europe and saw the Eiffel tower for the first time it seemed
as if "something was wrong" (566). No matter how hard I tried
to enjoy the remarkable sight in front of me I could only feel like I
was being spoon-fed the experience. Upon arrival everyone marched to the
elevators and rode to the peak. Then, at the top of the tower everyone
got out, took pictures, and went back down. During what should have been
a highlight of my life, I felt "simply bored" (566).
One can assume that Percy isnt too fond of preformed situations.
However, that is exactly the kind of situation that Percy puts his readers
into when he is bias to their opinions and only offers his own answers
about how to recover "it." Percy proposes the question "how
can the sightseer recover [it]?" (566) to open the minds of his readers,
but his only reason for that question is so he can stuff his answers into
their heads. Percy has done what he previously preached not to do and
preformed a situation where only his opinion and advice are acceptable.
After proposing the question his next four paragraphs/thoughts all begin
with, "It may be recovered by...". Percy is relentless in his
attempt to provide examples, in order to keep his readers from calling
his bias thoughts. Percy may be biased in his examples, but he is much
worse towards his readers.